Corporate and M&A: local firms in Singapore
Allen & Gledhill LLP has an outstanding record in real estate, healthcare and financial services M&A, and is a growing presence in private equity (especially private equity real estate) and venture capital. The team is 'driven, client-focused and pragmatic' and has significant presence in domestic, regional and global deals. The celebrated Andrew Lim and Lim Mei co-head the practice. Christian Chin, Richard Young, Prawiro Widjaja, Christopher Koh, Lee Kee Yeng and Song Su-Min are also highly rated.
Andrew Lim; Lim Mei
‘Probably one of the strongest Singapore M&A firms, with a great ASEAN network, and a real practical sense of how to do business in ASEAN.’
‘Christian Chin leads an impressive bench of mid-to junior associates who strive to deliver best-in-class M&A work. They are responsive and responsible.‘
- Advised Ascendas-Singbridge on the S$11bn sale of its real estate-related business to CapitaLand.
- Advised Mitsui & Co on its MYR8.4bn acquisition of an enlarged share in IHH Healthcare Berhad.
- Advised IHH Healthcare on its S$1.1bn acquisition of controlling stake in Fortis Healthcare.
WongPartnership LLP is a recognised force in strategic M&A and private equity. It routinely advises top regional and international corporates and financial sponsors. While noted for big-ticket deals it has also advised a number of private equity clients on growth capital investments and smaller to mid-cap deals. Moreover, it is frequently engaged by international law firms on the Singapore or regional component of global and multi-jurisdictional deals. Real estate and technology are particularly active industry sectors for the team. Managing partner Ng Wai King has 'a major market share of the private equity sector', while having a fine record in strategic M&A, and head of the M&A practice Andrew Ang is recognised for big-ticket public M&A and private equity deals. Mark Choy, Chan Sing Yee, Low Kah Keong and Quak Fi Ling are also highly commended.
Perennial Real Estate Holdings
- Advised ESR Funds Management on the merger of ESR-REIT with Viva Industrial Trust by way of a trust scheme of arrangement.
- Advised CapitaLand on its S$11bn acquisition of the Ascendas-Singbridge group of companies from Temasek Holdings.
- Advised Wheelock and Company on the voluntary unconditional general offer for all the issued and paid-up ordinary shares of Wheelock Properties (Singapore).
Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC has a deep mix of localised and global expertise, advising a variety of Singapore-listed companies and other domestic and international corporates. The firm has demonstrated a strong record in reverse takeovers and keen industry expertise in life sciences, consumer, real estate, food and beverages, and private equity among other sectors. Regional experience includes Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. As a Catalist Continuing Sponsor, the firm has developed close links to a number of corporates listed on Singapore's growth company focused exchange. Suet-Fern Lee and Wai Ming Yap are highly rated along with Joo Khin Ng and Bernard Lui. Vanessa Ng joined the firm from Fortis Law Corporation. Daniel Yong has joined Withers KhattarWong LLP.
Cheong Sim Lam
Rothschild & Co Singapore
Shun Tak Holdings
Tikehau Investment Management Asia
- Advised Oyster Bay Fund on its potential S$500m acquisition of a controlling stake in Hyflux and its acquisition of a significant interest in HyfluxShop Holdings.
- Advised Uber Technologies on the S$418m sale of Lion City Rental.
- Advised Wings Travel Management on its acquisition of 70% stake in Singapore-based Olympia Travel & Tours.
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has maintained a steady pipeline of M&A deals, including a marked increase in take privates and has made an impression in REIT mergers. Its strong regional presence has led to an impressive number of deals involving Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia especially. The firm is also active in deals involving Singapore businesses investing in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Key sectors include insurance, healthcare, banking and real estate. Chia Kim Huat leads the corporate and transactional group, which includes Abdul Jabbar Bin Karam Din, Evelyn Wee, Lawrence Tan, Lim Wee Hann and the highly rated Sandy Foo, who is recognised for handling big-ticket transactions.
Chia Kim Huat
‘The team is pro-business, practical and has a no-nonsense approach to advising its clients. It has always done what is right by the client without question. It has a simply outstanding service orientation’.
‘Lim Wee Hann is head and shoulders above his peers. He is a lawyer of unquestionable brilliance and integrity’.’
Sandy Foo obviously has a good understanding of the key issues.’
Singapore Press Holdings
PT Barito Pacific
Viva Industrial Trust
RHT Health Trust Manager
Alliance Mineral Assets
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
Broadway Food Centre
- Advised the managers on the proposed merger of OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust and OUE Hospitality Trust by way of a trust scheme of arrangement.
- Advised Singapore Press Holdings on the voluntary general offer by Keppel Corporation and the client for all the issued and paid up ordinary shares in the capital of M1.
- Advised PT Barito Pacific on its acquisition of a 66.67% interest in Star Energy Group.
TSMP Law Corporation has made a further impression in public and private deals and corporate real estate transactions. It also receives regular engagements from financial advisers to M&A deals. It has an especially strong standing in TMT and REIT transactions. Stefanie Yuen Thio has an outstanding reputation for dealmaking, while Jennifer Chia is noted for corporate real estate deals.
Stefanie Yuen Thio; Jennifer Chia
Singapore Medical Group
- Advised OUE and two minority shareholders on the S$675m sale of shares related to the holding companies of five-star hotel Marina Mandarin Singapore to UOL.
- Advised fund managed by Pan Asia Realty Advisors (Singapore) on its $520m acquisition of a Perennial Real Estate Holdings-led consortium’s entire stake in Chinatown Mall Point.
- Advised Merrill Lynch (Singapore), the sole financial adviser to Viva Industrial Trust on its merger with ESR-REIT via a trust scheme of arrangement.
Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow is widely seen as a local law firm, despite having a wide range of strong international lawyers. Indeed, it has successfully married local with international to achieve a presence in big-ticket and complex transactions. It is noted for Singapore takeovers and public M&A, and frequently advises major regional and international corporates. It is also achieving growth in private equity, real estate and TMT, including fintech transactions. Ai Ai Wong and Min-tze Lean are the key partners.
Ai Ai Wong
‘Min-tze Lean is the go-to person for general offers in Singapore. We would always go back to him.’
Shell Eastern Petroleum
Shaw Kwei & Partners
- Advised Fortis Healthcare on the S$895m acquisition of Singapore-listed RHT Health Trust’s entire asset portfolio of Indian clinics and hospitals.
- Advised Waydrive Holdings on its acquisition of 100% of the share equity in the Uber-owned Lion City Rentals.
- Advised West Knighton on the delisting and privatisation of Cityneon from the Singapore Exchange.
Bird & Bird ATMD LLP has achieved considerable growth in M&A and corporate transactions, including venture capital fund raisings, public takeovers, reverse takeovers and regional energy deals. The firm is expanding its corporate venture capital client base, along with a growing contingent of startups and Chinese companies. Life sciences, technology and energy are its primary industry sectors. Marcus Chow heads the Singapore corporate team, mixing deep corporate and M&A expertise with extensive capital markets experience. Sandra Seah and Ken Cheung provide additional energy sector expertise, with the former also known for infrastructure and real estate deals.
‘Very supportive and responsive team. Meets our tight deadline.’
‘Marcus Chow is a very savvy legal advisor and value adds with commercial recommendations which help deals cross the finishing line.’
Singapore Press Holdings
Sealed Air Corporation
Dow Chemical Pacific Singapore
QuEST Global Services
- Acted as Singapore counsel to Bureau Veritas Singapore on its joint venture with New Zealand-based AsureQuality Asia Pacific.
- Advised Daehan Steel, a South Korean steel manufacturer, on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Singapore-based Angkasa Amsteel.
- Advised Fragomen Global Immigration Services on its joint venture in Malaysia.
CNPLaw LLP has an established practice with a notable record in cross-border M&A, Singapore takeovers and funds-related transactions. Fintech continues to be a growth area for the team. Ken Chia heads the corporate advisory practice, while Bill Jamieson and Amit Dhume co-head the funds and private equity group.
Distributed Ledger Technologies
Verita Healthcare Group
- Advised Kalms Singapore on its joint venture with celebrity chef Justin Quek’s JQ Global restaurant consultancy.
- Advised Distributed Ledger Technologies on the acquisition of a Singapore private company, which has an Indian subsidiary.
- Acted as counsel for the sellers in the sale of 100% of equity interests in a Singapore manufacturing company with subsidiaries and operations in several parts of Southeast Asia.
Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP has continued to make a mark in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional deals for Singapore-based and multinational clients. It also remains a leading name in corporate real estate transactions. The firm is also making an impression in healthcare, technology and consumer products deals; it has made particular headway in fintech and blockchain thanks to the efforts of Kenneth Oh. Ng Eng Leng leads the M&A practice and S Sivanesan heads the corporate group, which includes senior figure Valerie Ong.
RBC Investor Services
Bank of China
- Advised RBC Investor Services Trust Singapore, the trustee of ESR-REIT, in the merger of the stapled securities of Viva Industrial Trust and the units in ESR-REIT.
- Acted as Singapore counsel to Flipkart in the $16bn acquisition leading to Walmart becoming Flipkart’s largest shareholder.
- Advised Yinson Eden, the Bursa Malaysia-listed company, on its proposed acquisition of up to $916m of Ezion’s existing bank loans.
Drew & Napier LLC remains active in take privates, delistings and headline strategic M&A transactions. The team has a broad array of experience, including TMT sector deals. Steven Lo heads the M&A practice, which includes respected consultant Gary Pryke, who continues to deploy his technical experience to a range of transactions. Tan Teng Sen and Jon Nair are emerging names.
‘It has a multilayered and talented team, but works as one. It is extremely responsive and offers valuable advice in decision making.’
‘The firm delivers deep bench strength, cross-practice expertise and reasonable fees.’
‘Steven Lo and Jon Nair are a brilliant team combination for M&A. They absorb the client’s objectives and intentions and offer great advice in the best interests of clients.’
‘Tan Teng Sen has the ability to be practical and yet cover the real risk issues. He is very responsive and his acute commercial sense around the negotiation table facilitates parties to successfully complete transactions.’
SoftBank Vision Fund
Sealed Air Corporation
Evercore Asia (Singapore)
- Singapore counsel to the SoftBank Vision Fund on its $4bn disposal of its interests in Flipkart to Walmart.
- Advised Citigroup Global Markets Singapore on the proposed merger of Viva Industrial Trust and ESR-REIT by way of a trust scheme of arrangement.
- Advised Chesham Properties on the sale of its 50% interest in the Capitol project.
Pinsent Masons MPillay
Pinsent Masons MPillay is closely aligned with the infrastructure and private equity segments, and has a fine record in deals driven by Chinese investors, including those linked to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Perry Yuen leads the team and legal director Bethia Su is also highly rated, as is associate Serene Yeo.
‘The team is very aware of challenges and pitfalls in cross-border transactions and has a strong ability to find a workable solution to address regulatory constraints across multiple jurisdictions.’
‘It is extremely hands-on, responsive and more importantly, consistently able to provide quality, workable and effective solutions to clients.’
‘Perry Yuen is able to leverage his wealth of experience when advising clients with views from different perspectives to ensure a win-win solution for clients. He is extremely sharp, efficient and an excellent problem-solver for clients. His ability to dissect complex and complicated structures into something easily understandable by clients sets him apart from other good corporate/ M&Alawyers.’
‘Bethia Su is thorough and has an eye for details, she is hands-on and has a strong ability to pre-empt issues so that they can be discussed and addressed at an early stage.’
‘Serene Yeo has the ability to understand the business objectives of her clients. She is meticulous and effective when it comes to the execution part of the transaction.’
China Harbour Engineering
Dymon Asia Private Equity
Aberdeen Standard Investments
World Precision Machinery
- Advised China Harbour Engineering on its development, construction and operation of a 85 to 100-room resort in the Maldives.
- Advised Dymon Asia Private Equity on its investment into and subsequent acquisition of a stake in TEE Medical Services.
- Advised Aberdeen Standard Investments on its investment in Singapore Life.
Shook Lin & Bok LLP has a long history with Western and North Asian clients and has a growing number of engagements from Chinese businesses; it has a number of Chinese-qualified partners and Mandarin speakers across the team. It has extensive experience in healthcare, technology, media and education especially and is also a growing force in private equity and venture capital investments. David Chong is a prominent name, as is Ho Ying Ming, while Teo Mae Shaan is noted for healthcare deals.
- Providing Singapore counsel to the China-based HBIS Group on its proposed acquisition of Tata Steel’s Southeast Asia production assets.
- Advised ASTI on its S$128m disposal of Semiconductor Technologies and Instruments and its various subsidiaries to Shanghai Pudong Science and Technology Investment.
- Providing Singapore legal counsel to SoftBank Vision Fund on its participation in Grab’s $1.46bn Series H financing round.
Duane Morris & Selvam LLP has a strong regional profile with expertise in a wide range of cross-border transactions, along with Singapore public M&A and takeovers, and a growing number of private equity deals. The team has an impressive mix of those with Singapore law and other international law backgrounds. It has weighty experience in energy and infrastructure deals and a growing number of technology and fintech engagements. Krishna Ramachandra heads the team and Leon Yee leads the China practice group that has developed numerous Chinese clients. Mark Wong is also noted for China investments into Southeast Asia.
Pacific Star Development
Red Dot Energy
Platinum Equity Advisors International
- Advised Platinum Equity Advisors International on its S$203m acquisition of PCI, the SGX-listed electronics manufacturer.
- Advised White Lodge Education Group Services on its acquisition of certain shares and capital injection in Invictus International School.
- Advised Nanolumi on its US$1m seed round fund raise.
Eversheds Harry Elias
Eversheds Harry Elias is making a further impression in private equity, growth capital and venture capital investments. It continues to be strong in listed-company transactions and cross-border deals around the region. Healthcare, education and logistics are strong sectors for the team, which features four partners. Claudia Teo heads the corporate and financial services team, while Sze-Hui Goh is recommended for private equity and fund investments.
- Advised Advanced Holdings on its proposed acquisition of a 12.25% stake in Agricore Global from Vertex.
- Advised Visenze on its Series C funding round.
Lee & Lee
- Advised Lee Metal Group, the SGX-listed corporate, on the proposed takeover offer and privatization bid by BRC Asia.
- Advised SGX-listed Nutryfarm International on its acquisition of a 45% stake in First Linkage.
- Advised Celligenics on its fund raising exercise, which involved the issuance of a 12.5% stake to Best World.
Prolegis LLC has a fruitful local alliance with Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, the two firms frequently working alongside each other on big-ticket cross-border deals. The firm is noted for corporate transactions and fund investments, and has healthy experience in real estate, TMT and energy. Ban Leong Oo founded the firm and has an outstanding reputation, while Safa Zahedi is noted for TMT transactions. Of counsel Sandra Tsao is also making an impression. Eugene Lee has joined Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
Ban Leong Oo
‘Prolegis stands out amongst the best. It is incredibly responsive and always follows-up to ensure client satisfaction. Prolegis is a firm that has earned our trust.’
‘With an international mindset, Prolegis is able to provide deeper, more practical and commercial legal advice than their pure domestic local piers. Prolegis is able to see the wood from the trees.’
‘Ban Leong Oo brings a unique blend of technical expertise and commercial pragmatism to every issue. He is a skilled negotiator and never loses sight of the ultimate client goal. He brings a calming demeanour to even the most charged matters and has a remarkable way of bringing deals together.’
‘Ban Leong Oo provides very practical, considered and detailed legal advice. He is my go-to lawyer for a whole range of corporate advice including TMT, infrastructure and general commercial M&A and joint venture advice.’
Japan Pulp & Paper
- Advised Axiata Group on the sale of a stake in M1, Singapore’s third-largest mobile operator.
- Advised Softbank on its investment in a new equity funding round for Southeast Asia’s Grab.
- Advised Japan Pulp & Paper on the acquisition of Spicers Paper (Malaysia) and Spicers Paper (Singapore) from Spicers Holdings (Asia).
Quahe Woo & Palmer LLC has carved out an impressive market share of private M&A, private equity, venture capital and growth capital; the firm has gained quite a following of mid-market private equity houses and their portfolio companies. Beyond this, the firm is gradually attracting engagements from Singapore-listed companies and a number of Hong Kong-based businesses. Kenneth Leong has made a particular impression in the market and Lau Kiat Wee joined the team from WongPartnership LLP in June 2019. Associate director Keith Oh is also rated.
‘Excellent response time and cross industry experience.’
‘Capable lawyers and good value for money.’
‘Delivers transparency, honesty and directness in tackling situations.’
‘Kenneth Leong is excellent in articulating difficult issues and provides practical recommendations.’
‘Keith Oh is able to understand client requirements and propose solutions accordingly. Keith is very committed.’
RRJ Management (HK)
Advanced MedTech Holdings
Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding
Great American Insurance Company
Sunvic Chemical Holdings
International Finance Corporation
- Acting as Singapore counsel on its $1.04bn acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Codman Neurosurgery business from DePuy Synthes.
- Advised Tommy Lim on the sale of a 60% interest in Henderson Security Services and Henderson Technologies to Security and Intelligence Services (India).
- Advised Ekuiti Nasional on its acquisition of up to a 40.36% equity stake in Exabytes Capital Group.
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP is at the forefront of tech, fintech, life sciences, healthcare and medtech deals. The firm is also experiencing an uptick in higher value deals in excess of $100m. TMT and life sciences expert Erwan Barre, who is admitted to practice in New York and Paris, now heads the team, with Indonesia specialist Azman Jaafar having ascended to managing partner; the latter is noted for mining, oil and gas, and education sector deals. Indonesia and Vietnam are the Singapore team's primary markets.
‘Azman Jaafar has been in the Indonesian market for many years and is a very good corporate lawyer.’
OHMK (Tianjin) Medical Technology Co
- Advised Halyard Health on its $710m sale of its Surgical and Infection Prevent business and assets to Owens & Minor.
- Advised OHMK (Tianjin) Medical Technology Co on its investment in Endymed, a publicly-listed Israeli group, through the purchase of shares from existing investors and the subscription in a rights offering.
- Advised the shareholders of LVM Holdings in the sale of the company to the Dusit Thani group, a Thai hospitality leader.
Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance has an impressive mix of private and public M&A, including a high volume of deals involving Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines; the firm has a particularly fruitful connection to Christian Teo & Partners in Jakarta. The firm has achieved prominence in headline deals around the region and has achieved particular growth in healthcare transactions. It remains active in tech sector transactions, including venture capital investments. Elaine Beh and Parikhit Sarma are the senior figures in the team.
‘The team is resourceful and responsive, and I would consider it one of the go-to firms for venture capital investments in Singapore.’
CLSA Capital Partners
Japan South East Asia Growth Fund
Duff & Phelps
Triple P Capital
- Advised AirAsia and its wholly-owned subsidiary Asia Aviation Capital on the $768m sale of Asia Aviation’s entire equity interest in Merah Aviation Asset Holding.
- Advised Duff & Phelps, a global valuation and corporate finance adviser, on the acquisition of Zolfo Cooper Asia.
- Advised two private investors on their investment in IEV Holdings, a Malaysian-based company listed on the Catalist Board of the Singapore stock exchange.
Withers KhattarWong LLP's association with the private wealth sector has resulted in considerable growth in engagements from family offices, including those from Indonesia and China. Energy, mining and technology are the primary sectors for the team. Winston Seow is the primary partner in the team, along with Leong Chuo Ming and Erlene Tan who has joined the firm from RPC Premier Law. Farhana Sharmeen has joined Latham & Watkins LLP. Private funds and cross-border investment specialist Daniel Yong has joined from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC alongside a team of two associates.
‘The team is value for money, commercial and always available.’
‘Great go-to firm for regional small to mid-size M&A deals. Good local network. Great value for money fee-structure.‘
‘Leong Chuo Ming is a very hands on partner who is always available for advice and is very commercial. He helps clients to solve issues.’
‘Leong Chuo Ming understands the ASEAN psyche and business practices, and therefore gives practical and commercial advice designed to ensure that deals that should close actually close.‘
- Advised DKSH Group on its S$218m acquisition of Auric Pacific Group’s consumer goods distribution business in Singapore and Malaysia.
- Advised Trescal Group on the acquisition of Northlab, an international calibration service provider with a presence in Singapore and Malaysia.
- Advised PT Kayan Hydro Energy, the Indonesian owner of a hydropower plant located in Kalimantan, on the EPC contract with Power China Group’s Sinohydro relating to $17.8bn of energy projects to be built by PT Kayan along the Kayan River in North Kalimantan.